Grandpa was a fisherman, and I will always credit him with teaching me to enjoy the outdoor sports. Even though he dabbled in fly fishing, most of the time we went fishing when I was a child was to throw a lure into a clear lake in the eastern mountains. Grandpa also collected watches, and I have fond memories of looking at the different watches he would wear. That must have planted a seed for the appreciation of time pieces that I would later develop. For years I wore a single watch, an L.L. Bean Field watch, that served me well.
About two years ago, when traveling on the east coast, I wandered into an Orvis Store, and started looking around. I spotted a display of watches, and decided that it might be time to update my timepiece. My wife pointed out a nice looking watch that I had not heard of, the Reactor Gamma. As I examined it, I was impressed by its quality, and its lightweight construction. I purchased it, and have used it extensively since that time. Researching the watch renewed my interest in watches, and I've added a few more watches since then, but this watch remains a favorite. The Reactor is my primary watch for fly fishing. I've decided to review this watch for those of you who might have a need for a durable watch for the river.
The Reactor Gamma that I have is made of Titanium. This material is tough, light, and has a nice gunmetal look. The Gamma also comes in a stainless steel model, but the Ti is about 40% lighter. The Gamma has Reactor's Never Dark technology, which combines luminous material on the dial, along with tritium, which is a material that does not need light to "charge" it. Thus, when the luminous material grows dim during the night, the tritium stays well lit. During fishing trips, I've found this very important when sleeping in a cabin with little electricity...you can always tell how many hours until you get to hit the river.
The watch that I have has a glossy, deep black dial, a rotating bezel, and is water resistant to 300 meters (plenty for any trout stream I fall into). It is quartz powered, which is nice for the rigorous activities in fly fishing, plus Reactor says that the battery lasts for 10 years, which is outstanding for a quartz watch. The accuracy of this watch has been spot on. There is a rubber strap option, but my watch is on a titanium bracelet. I've found that the bracelet is extremely well made. Unlike most watches that attach the strap to the watch case with spring bars, the Gamma has a unique lug system that seems very tough. Not much chance of the bracelet accidentally coming off.
Reactor uses a coated mineral crystal on this watch. Generally, I prefer a sapphire crystal on my watches, but I understand that Reactor uses this due to the fact that mineral crystal is more shatter resistant than sapphire, which is nice if you are on a fishing trip, and this is your only watch. I've not had any issues with scratching on the crystal of this watch. There is an anti-reflective coating which helps reduce the glare of the sun, and allows you to see the time easily.
I've had first hand experience dealing with Reactor's customer service, and I can tell you that it was outstanding. I've read reports online that they had great service, but I can verify that they are top notch. I normally take my watches to a local watchmaker for any servicing, but if I need to change the battery, I plan to send it to Reactor.
The watch is comfortable to wear, quite rugged, and I think the styling fits well with the outdoor theme in which I use it. Check out Reactor's website for additional information on their watches. http://www.reactorwatch.com
BDF uses a three tiered gear rating system for gear reviews.
Dry Fly = Great Product
Emerger= Good product with potential
Nymph= Could use improvement
The Reactor Gamma Ti watch earns Dry Fly status.